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What is the Average Penis and Erection Size?

Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM

Reviewed by Mike Bohl, MD

Written by Geoffrey C. Whittaker

Published 01/09/2018

Updated 01/10/2024

Worried about your penis size? Congrats — you can relax and know that you’re in the majority. Plenty of men want to know how they measure up compared with the rest of the world, and we’ve even got a semi-reliable answer.

According to a detailed review of study data published in the journal BJU International, the average erect penis length is approximately 5.2 in. (13.12 cm.), with an average circumference (a circular measurement around the penis) of around 4.6 in. (11.66 cm.). 

The average flaccid penis size (which did not correlate with erect size) is around 3.6 in., or 9.16 cm., from base to tip. When it comes to flaccid circumference, the average man measures in at around 3.7 in., or 9.31 cm..

Here’s the thing: there’s so much more to the size of your penis than length and girth, just like there’s so much more to you than the size of your penis. Does this information actually matter to your partner? Should it matter all that much to you? Is there anything you can do about it? 

Read on for more about what you need to know.

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While average penis size varies drastically across a pretty massive spectrum of eight billion humans around the world, researchers have tried their best to give us some ballpark numbers. 

Most of this research suggests that people’s perceptions about the normal penis size are, to put it mildly, not totally realistic. It also suggests that many men are far more concerned about their penis size than their female partners. 

For instance, the King’s College study findings mentioned above (5.2 in. for the average erect penis size and 3.6 for the average flaccid length, for those keeping score at home) should come as a relief to many of us. This confirms that the “six-inch standard” promoted in media and casual conversation isn’t even close to the reality of the average penis size in America. 

And to determine those numbers, researchers measured over 15,000 penises by their average flaccid penis length and erect lengths and circumferences. 

But even with a sample that size, there’s no telling how accurate their findings really were.

And that’s just one study.

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Occasionally worrying about whether you have a normal-sized penis is, well, normal. We all feel self-conscious from time to time. But feeling persistently anxious or being excessively concerned about the average male penis size is a form of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).

And if you have an unhealthy obsession specifically with your penis size, that’s considered a specific form of BDD called Penile Dysmorphic Disorder, or PDD.

What’s fascinating, though, is the difference between real study data, which comes from high-quality surveys, and the perceived average penis length that people report when they’re asked about what they think is normal.

As you could probably guess, we’re all cumulatively suffering from some pretty hard penis imposter syndrome.

In a survey conducted by UK-based company Health Bridge Limited, researchers asked people to state what they believed was the average penile length. The survey featured men and women, drawing data from thousands of people located throughout Europe and North America.

So we’re all on the same page, researchers in this survey used the same stats as the King’s College study above (5.2 in., erect).

For the most part, the survey participants overestimated the average penis size by about a quarter of an inch to about four-tenths of an inch (0.68 to 0.98 cm.). 

The average male penis size reported by participants varied between countries, but the coveted “King of the Liars” Award goes to Poland, whose respondents reported the biggest perceived average penile length at 6.18 in. (15.7 cm.). 

Austria, Italy and the United States all featured estimates well above the real average penis length, at 6.14 in. (15.6 cm.), 6.02 in. (15.3 cm.) and 5.63 in. (14.3 cm.), respectively. 

Of the 10 most widely surveyed countries, the UK participants were the only ones to modestly guess an average size that was below the real average, coming in at just 4.88 in. (12.4 cm.). 

This mismatch between perceived penis size and real penis size might not seem like that big of a deal on the surface, but it may contribute to feelings of anxiety, frustration and insecurity for many men who feel like their penis isn’t big enough. 

In an article published in Sexual Medicine, men who are diagnosed with BDD due to their perceived penis size are excessively preoccupied and demonstrate repeated behaviors of checking and comparing. These same individuals tend to experience a high level of distress in their social and occupational environments due to their preoccupation with the topic.

Some men can also develop what’s called small penis anxiety (SPA), which is described as a syndrome of men who are dissatisfied or constantly worried about the size of their penis, even if they’re packing perfectly average-sized equipment. 

Men with this condition often feel hopeless, have low self-esteem and may develop performance anxiety.

Does size matter? Sort of.

The size of your penis can seem like a big deal, but there’s plenty of research out there that suggests that penis size really isn’t that important — especially for heterosexual partners. 

In a 2015 study of penis size and sexual attraction, researchers found that only 27 percent of women from a 75-person study had ended a relationship due (at least in part) to a difference between their preferred penis size and the size of their partner.

Researchers in that study asked participants to compare 33 different 3D models of phalluses and answer questions based on their preferences. The general preference was only slightly above the average for both one-night stands and relationships (6.4 vs. 6.3 in.). 

That may be bad news to men around the “average” 5.2 inch size, but there’s good news for the majority: in the Health Bridge Survey mentioned above, the overwhelming majority of female participants — a whopping 67.4 percent — claimed that penis size was only “somewhat important” to them in a sex partner.

And another 21.4 percent of female participants said that penis size just wasn’t important at all. Only 11.2 percent of all of the women that took part in the survey claimed that penis size was very important to them when choosing a romantic partner.

In a nutshell, the overwhelming majority of women don’t use penis size as a significant factor for their choice of long-term partners, and their expectations and preferences for penis size are not that far from the norm.

As for the preferences of gay partners, there’s not as much scientifically collected data. However, a survey conducted by the organization LGBT Hero of over 500 men found that while nearly 40 percent of men surveyed had anxiety about the size of their own penis, nearly 50 percent said penis size did not matter.

In other words, regardless of who’s being asked, the question of penis size is kind of big, but not really that big, and also varies from person to person — kind of like penises.

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All of that said, there are some circumstances in which you may have an indisputably small or hidden penis due to things like genetic predispositions, congenital issues or even certain environmental factors. It’s a men’s health issue, and one that you deserve and should receive help with.

These factors include:

  • Micropenis

  • Buried Penis

  • Hormonal Deficiencies

  • Obesity

  • Smoking

  • Poor Nutrition

  • Age

Let’s take a closer look at some of these.

Micropenis

Micropenis is a clinical condition in which a penis is more than 2.5 standard deviations smaller than the average size.

Micropenis is a fairly rare condition. According to an article published in the Journal of Clinical Research in Pediatric Endocrinology, about 1.5 out of every 10,000 male children born in the United States between 1997 and 2000 displayed signs of micropenis. 

A variety of factors can play a role in the development of micropenis, including hormonal issues and congenital syndromes. 

Buried Penis

Buried penis occurs when a normal penis is “buried” and partially hidden due to skin and fat from the abdomen, thigh or scrotum. Buried penis occurs when skin or fat obstructs the visibility of your penis, even if it’s average-sized. It’s usually caused by obesity, with excess body fat covering the penis and making it more difficult to see.

Other factors and sexual health problems can also play a role in the development of buried penis, including elective surgery procedures, traumatic genital events, infections and skin conditions such as lichen sclerosus. 

Micropenis and buried penis are both recognized medical conditions, and it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider if you think you might be affected by either one. They can help you develop a treatment plan that may include things like topical hormonal treatments or surgery.

Of course, there are other factors that can influence the overall size and appearance of your dick. Many of the below factors are addressable.

  • Hormones. Insufficient hormone levels during growth and development (like testosterone) can greatly impact the size of your penis. 

  • Obesity. The point of taking care of your physique isn’t just to look good. In fact, obesity can cause conditions like buried penis.

  • Smoking. Will smoking actually affect your penis size? No. But smoking and erectile dysfunction have a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Smokers often have decreased blood circulation, which leads to difficulties with maintaining an erection. Now, we’re no scientists, but we’d argue that you can’t measure your erect penis if your penis can’t get erect.

  • Nutrition. We’re not saying your penis will grow if you eat your Wheaties®, but what you eat can have a definitive impact on your erection quality. And like our point above about smoking and erection quality, being able to get hard and stay hard is the basis for understanding your true penis length. 

  • Age. Various age-related changes can also cause the penis to get smaller over time. Some of these may be addressable with the help of a healthcare professional.

So, let’s get down to brass tacks. Is there anything you can do to add some length or girth? Well, maybe — but we’re not sure we’d recommend it. 

Although there are various “techniques” for increasing penis size, most don’t appear to offer long-term benefits. Some of the most common potential penis enlargement practices include:

  • Jelqing

  • Penis enlargement surgery

  • Penis pumps 

  • Maintaining a healthy body weight

  • Medications

Here’s a little more info about how they work, and why they might not work for you:

Jelqing

Jelqing” is a penis stretching exercise that involves incrementally stretching the penis to create micro-tears in the skin tissue. Self-reported experiments do seem to say that this technique for augmentation by stretching can increase the size of a penis, but that’s mostly coming from message board posts.

Unfortunately, studies mostly show that it doesn’t work. Worse, excessive jelqing can cause issues like genital bruising and scar tissue buildup, which can create a whole new set of problems for your penis. 

Penis Enlargement Surgery

Surgical options can deliver some results — if you’re willing to go under the knife. A few of the most common penis enlargement surgical procedures involve severing a ligament in your penis, prosthetic implants and fat transfer surgery. 

But while these surgeries may offer a small amount of increased average penis girth and/or length, you may determine that the high risks that are associated with these procedures — as well as their high price tags — may outweigh the potential reward. 

Penis Pumps

Penis pumps, also known as vacuum pumps or vacuum erection devices, are tube-shaped instruments designed to improve blood flow to the penis through the creation of suction pressure. While they’re commonly used as an ED treatment option (they’re actually pretty effective here!), a larger penis isn’t a result.

Pumps won’t make you bigger, and they come with some pretty rough side effects when used incorrectly, including bruising, penis pain and even ischemia — a medical condition in which your tissues become damaged by lack of blood flow. Ouch.

Maintain a Healthy Body Weight 

A more natural (and safe) way to increase your penis size is to maintain a healthy weight. When fat accumulates near your lower abdomen, it can conceal part of your penis and make it look shorter, both for yourself and for your sexual partners. 

You can maintain a healthy body weight by keeping yourself physically active, eating a balanced diet, monitoring your total caloric intake and staying hydrated.

Medications

You can improve your sexual function with your as-is length and girth by treating issues like erectile dysfunction.

Medications such as sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra®), tadalafil (Cialis®) and avanafil (Stendra®) work by increasing blood flow to the erectile tissues inside your penis, helping you to maintain firmer, more consistent erections.

We offer several ED medications online, following a consultation with a healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate for you. 

Related Articles

Well, fellas, you knew this section was coming. While we’re not really in the business of making men feel inadequate, we also understand that if you have concerns about the size of your penis, you may want to measure it and see how you compare to others. In short, we get it. 

How to Measure Penis Length

Scientists and urologists use a few different methods to measure the length of your member. The main difference is whether you’re erect and pressing the measuring device into the body (which controls for varying levels of body fat and approximates deep penetrative sex) or if you’re flaccid and stretching the penis. Here are some options:

BPEL (Bone-Pressed Erection Length): The Scientific Standard

  • Position a measuring device (tape measure, ruler, etc.) on top of your erect penis and snug it up to where it attaches to your body.

  • Press into your body until you hit something hard. That's your pubic bone.

  • Measure to the end of the glans (penis tip), excluding the foreskin.

NBPEL (Non-Bone Pressed Erection Length): Like BPEL But Not Pressed into Body

  • Place a measuring device on top of your erect penis and slide it to where it attaches.

  • Measure base to tip, excluding foreskin.

Flaccid Stretched: A Convenient Erection Length Estimation

  • While standing, lift the flaccid penis so it is parallel to the floor and perpendicular to the body.

  • Position the measuring device on top of your flaccid penis and stretch with a gentle but firm force.

  • Measure to the end of the penis tip, excluding the foreskin.

How to Measure Penis Girth

Erect Girth: The Scientific Standard

  • Carefully wrap a flexible measuring tape or other material (dental floss, strip of paper, etc.) around the widest point of your erect shaft, excluding the head of the penis, until it overlaps.

  • Read the measuring tape where it overlaps or carefully note this point on the other material and measure it on a flat surface with your ruler.

Flaccid Girth: Your Resting Circumference

  • Wrap a flexible measuring device around a flaccid shaft until it overlaps.

  • Read the measuring tape or note the length on the other material.

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It’s normal to occasionally feel concerned about your penis size. However, it’s important not to let these worries get out of proportion and hurt what really matter: your self-confidence. 

Contrary to popular belief, the average American penis size really isn’t that big, and it’s likely that your partner is perfectly happy with what you’ve got.

To condense this information down into a smaller package, and to answer the age-old question “What is the average penis size?” here are the big takeaways:

  • “Average” is smaller than you think. The average-sized erect penis is probably much smaller than you think — 5.2 in., give or take.

  • There are some contributing factors to be aware of. Issues like micropenis, buried penis, obesity and even age can all affect the size of your penis.

  • Your partner probably doesn’t care that much. We know it might be hard to believe, but there are many more important things out there than the size of your penis. We know. Crazy. Survey after survey shows that women simply don’t care about penis size as much as we think they do.

Still, if you’re interested in improving your sexual stamina and having harder erections, schedule a virtual visit with one of our certified healthcare providers. In the case that you are feeling anxious, depressed or uncomfortable because of your penis size, you may also benefit from therapy interventions — mental health professionals can discuss options if you suspect you have a need for counseling.

Related Articles

7 Sources

  1. Veale, D., Miles, S., Bramley, S., Muir, G. & Hodsoll, J. (2015, June). Am I normal? A systematic review and construction of nomograms for flaccid and erect penis length and circumference in up to 15 521 men. BJU International. 115 (6), 978-986. Retrieved from https://bjui-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/bju.13010
  2. Veale, D., et al. (2015, November). Penile Dysmorphic Disorder: Development of a Screening Scale. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 44 (8), 2311-2321. Retrieved from https://www.veale.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/61-COPS-P-2015.pdf
  3. What is the average penis size? Does it really matter? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.zavamed.com/uk/does-size-matter.html
  4. Veale, D., Miles, S., Read, J., Troglia, A., Wylie, K., & Muir, G. (2015). Sexual Functioning and Behavior of Men with Body Dysmorphic Disorder Concerning Penis Size Compared with Men Anxious about Penis Size and with Controls: A Cohort Study. Sexual medicine, 3(3), 147–155.
  5. Hatipoğlu, N. & Kurtoğlu, S. (2013, December). Micropenis: Etiology, Diagnosis and Treatment Approaches. Journal of Clinical Research in Pediatric Endocrinology. 5 (4), 217-223. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3890219/
  6. Cohen, P.R. (2021, February). Adult Acquired Buried Penis: A Hidden Problem in Obese Men. Cureus. 13 (2), e13067. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7932830/
  7. Prause, N., Park, J., Leung, S. & Miller, G. (2015). Women's Preferences for Penis Size: A New Research Method Using Selection among 3D Models. PLoS One. 10 (9), e0133079. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4558040/
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Mike Bohl, MD

Dr. Mike Bohl is a licensed physician, a Medical Advisor at Hims & Hers, and the Director of Scientific & Medical Content at a stealth biotech startup, where he is involved in pharmaceutical drug development. Prior to joining Hims & Hers, Dr. Bohl spent several years working in digital health, focusing on patient education. He has also worked in medical journalism for The Dr. Oz Show (receiving recognition for contributions from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences when the show won Outstanding Informative Talk Show at the 2016–2017 Daytime Emmy® Awards) and at Sharecare. He is a Medical Expert Board Member at Eat This, Not That! and a Board Member at International Veterinary Outreach.

Dr. Bohl obtained his Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Medicine from Brown University, his Master of Public Health from Columbia University, and his Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies—Journalism from Harvard University. He is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Healthcare Leadership at Cornell University. Dr. Bohl trained in internal medicine with a focus on community health at NYU Langone Health.

Dr. Bohl is Certified in Public Health by the National Board of Public Health Examiners, Medical Writer Certified by the American Medical Writers Association, a certified Editor in the Life Sciences by the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences, a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Nutrition Coach by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and a Board Certified Medical Affairs Specialist by the Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs. He has graduate certificates in Digital Storytelling and Marketing Management & Digital Strategy from Harvard Extension School and certificates in Business Law and Corporate Governance from Cornell Law School.

In addition to his written work, Dr. Bohl has experience creating medical segments for radio and producing patient education videos. He has also spent time conducting orthopedic and biomaterial research at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland and practicing clinically as a general practitioner on international medical aid projects with Medical Ministry International.

Dr. Bohl lives in Manhattan and enjoys biking, resistance training, sailing, scuba diving, skiing, tennis, and traveling. You can find Dr. Bohl on LinkedIn for more information.

Publications

  • Younesi, M., Knapik, D. M., Cumsky, J., Donmez, B. O., He, P., Islam, A., Learn, G., McClellan, P., Bohl, M., Gillespie, R. J., & Akkus, O. (2017). Effects of PDGF-BB delivery from heparinized collagen sutures on the healing of lacerated chicken flexor tendon in vivo. Acta biomaterialia, 63, 200–209. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1742706117305652?via%3Dihub

  • Gebhart, J. J., Weinberg, D. S., Bohl, M. S., & Liu, R. W. (2016). Relationship between pelvic incidence and osteoarthritis of the hip. Bone & joint research, 5(2), 66–72. https://boneandjoint.org.uk/Article/10.1302/2046-3758.52.2000552

  • Gebhart, J. J., Bohl, M. S., Weinberg, D. S., Cooperman, D. R., & Liu, R. W. (2015). Pelvic Incidence and Acetabular Version in Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis. Journal of pediatric orthopedics, 35(6), 565–570. https://journals.lww.com/pedorthopaedics/abstract/2015/09000/pelvic_incidence_and_acetabular_version_in_slipped.5.aspx

  • Islam, A., Bohl, M. S., Tsai, A. G., Younesi, M., Gillespie, R., & Akkus, O. (2015). Biomechanical evaluation of a novel suturing scheme for grafting load-bearing collagen scaffolds for rotator cuff repair. Clinical biomechanics (Bristol, Avon), 30(7), 669–675. https://www.clinbiomech.com/article/S0268-0033(15)00143-6/fulltext

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